A new £17.5m pathology laboratory has opened its doors to provide faster and more efficient testing of samples from GPs' surgeries.
The site at the Royal Oldham Hospital is one of the largest of its type in the country, and will handle routine samples from across north-east Manchester.
The facility specialises in microbiology, biochemistry, and the study of blood, tissues and cells.
It covers more than 3,000 square metres of floor space, almost as much as a football pitch, and the existing building was also renovated as part of the project.
It represents a key part of a move by the NHS to modernise pathology services throughout Oldham, Rochdale, Heywood and Middleton, Bury and north Manchester.
Deborah Ashton, pathology senior service manager for Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "This massive project enables us to make best use of staff skills and technology, and will help us meet best practice standards on a national level.
"Most patients have little - if any - idea of the complexity and range of work undertaken by pathology staff.
"But their work underpins the whole of the NHS – around 70% of diagnoses depend on analyses of samples undertaken in our laboratories."